Our Impact

They call it the Sesame Effect. That’s what happens when you combine the power of media and the Muppets of Sesame Street. It’s proven. It’s measurable. And our favorite way to talk about it is through stories like these.

A little girl cuddles and smiles with Karli

Salia knows what it’s like when a parent struggles with addiction. She learned ways to cope—now she helps other children like her.

Ten-year-old Salia lives at home with her sisters and her mom and dad—but it wasn’t always possible for them to be together. Both of Salia’s parents have struggled with addiction; she’s one of the 5.7 million U.S. children living in a household with a parent who has a substance abuse disorder. Now, to support children and families affected by parental addiction, Sesame Workshop has created freely available content and tools featuring Sesame favorites like Elmo and Abby Cadabby—and their friend Karli, a 6 ½-year-old Sesame Street Muppet whose mom is dealing with addiction. The resources, which are part of our Sesame Street in Communities program, deliver the words children need to hear most: You are not alone. You will be taken care of. Addiction is a sickness and, as with any sickness, people need help to get better. And most importantly: It’s not your fault. As for Salia, now that her parents are home and in recovery, she and her mom practice coping techniques like meditation—and Salia even teaches other kids similar skills that helped her manage big feelings.

Going through tough times is harder for families—but when they get to the end of it, they end up stronger. 

– Salia, age 10

Elmo and a young girl, Islam, smile while looking through the opening of a tent

Islam lives in the Zaatari refugee camp. She dreams of being a doctor when she grows up.

Islam was born in Syria, but lives with her family in a refugee camp in Jordan. Around the world, more than 30 million children like Islam have had to leave their homes to flee conflict and persecution, and many have no access to quality education. That’s why we teamed up with the International Rescue Committee and BRAC in the Syrian response region and Bangladesh. Together, we’re bringing early education and play-based learning to refugees and children in host communities, reaching young children and families wherever they are: in their homes and communities, in preschools and health clinics, on their mobile phones and on television. Our programming will teach academic basics as well as the social-emotional skills children need to identify their feelings and begin to heal—and our characters will share powerful lessons in coping and resilience, helping millions of children like Islam overcome trauma and thrive.

I have the same hope as any mother. I want my kids to have a bright future. 

—A Syrian mother living with her children in the Zaatari refugee camp

A young girl and Abby Cadabby hug against a pink background

Ysenia and her family find everyday challenges easier thanks to Sesame’s autism resources

Ysenia has autism. She’s the youngest of three girls who live with their parents in a bustling, happy home. Everyday routines can be challenging for someone with autism—but Ysenia and her family found tools and resources to help through our autism initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. At the center of the initiative is Julia, an adorable four-year-old girl character who is helping to show the world that every child is unique, and every child is amazing.

So, I’m amazing too, right? 

—A young girl with autism after her mother explained that, like the Sesame Street Muppet Julia, she too had autism


As they grow up, children who watched Sesame Street have 16% higher GPAs in high school than their peers.


That’s the number of children around the world who have been forcibly displaced--and millions have no access to early education.


After using our resources, 70% of parents who don’t have autistic children showed an increase in knowledge and acceptance of autism. And 53% of parents who do have autistic children felt more hope about involving their children in their community.

We’d love to keep you posted about all the good things going on at the Workshop.

Thanks for signing up—see you soon!

Big Bird and a family with two adults and three children hold hands walking through the woods

Make Your Impact

When you support Sesame Workshop, you’re making a positive difference in the lives of children around the world. Join us!

Your generous donation will be used in a manner that will alleviate the most pressing needs identified by Sesame Workshop. For legal disclosures, click here.

Two women and two young children smile with Rosita outdoors.

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